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Ex-MPs want BBI fast-tracked to cure two-thirds gender

By Moses Nyamori | September 25th 2020 at 04:27:30 GMT +0300

Former Parliamentarian Association Kenya (FOPA) chairperson Humphrey Njuguna (centre), his Vice Hassan Osman (left) and John Njoroge address the media over the dissolution of Parliament debate yesterday. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Former MPs now want President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM Raila Odinga to expedite the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) process to cure the two-thirds constitutional crisis.

Under the umbrella body Former Parliamentarian Association Kenya (FOPA), the ex-lawmaker said the envisioned constitutional amendments would provide a solution to the elusive gender parity law.

Addressing the media in Nairobi, the leaders led by the association chairperson Humphrey Njuguna, Hassan Osman (Vice-chairperson) and John Njoroge said the two leaders should release the report to pave way for the referendum.

The politicians said the gender rule will remain unimplemented if the constitution is not reviewed.

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“As former lawmakers, we hold the opinion that it is time to release and implement the BBI report so that these and other problems in our constitution relating to governance can be sorted out once and for all,” said Njuguna, former Gatanga MP.

“This advisory opinion on the dissolution of Parliament has triggered the need to embrace the BBI report to cure all the above mischief. It is our desire to see a united and cohesive country where we can talk of one country; one people; one destiny,” he added.

The leaders said that the gender parity law should only be applicable appointments and employment positions and not elective.

Njuguna said it would be discriminative to force voters in a particular constituency to pick a woman.

Osman said the advisory by the Chief Justice David Maraga to President Uhuru Kenyatta should serve as an alarm bell for the implementation of the BBI.

The former nominated MP also said that as members of the 11th Parliament, they owe Kenyans an apology for not enacting the two-thirds gender rule.

“We ask Kenyans for forgiveness for not passing the laws during the 11th Parliament. It should be clear that as things stand right now, releasing the BBI would be the answer to the crisis,” he said.

“What the country needs at the moment is a solution. I believe that it is the BBI that will sort out this matter that has remained elusive,” said Osman.

The association of the ex-legislators, which has over 800 members, welcomed the stay orders by the High Court.

The High Court on Thursday suspended Maraga’s advisory to dissolve parliament, handing reprieve to the 416 members of both Senate and National Assembly.

FOPA said that dissolution of Parliament shall not cure the said two-thirds gender principle rule on elective positions, stating that there was no guarantee more women would be elected if by-elections were called.

“Even if the 12th Parliament was dissolved today there is no guarantee that more women would be elected to the two Houses,” said Osman.

Njoroge said it was time the country revisited the “20 per cent defects” in the 2010 constitution.

“This advisory opinion has triggered the need the need to revisit our 2010 constitution and address the commonly agreed 20 per cent defects some which are our system of government, issue of leadership and integrity as well as how to grow our democracy,” added Njoroge?, former Kasarani MP.

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